Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation Executive Director Jackie Hartman, right, presents one of seven chromatic resonators to teachers from Rio Vista and Highlands Elementary Schools, Cate Muro, left, and Melissa Valencia for their performing arts programs during the SCV Education Foundation's Teacher Innovation Grant Distribution event held at the Santa Clarita Activities Centre in Santa Clarita on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Eighteen teachers from all five of the Santa Clarita Valley’s school districts received classroom supplies, technology and equipment totaling nearly $23,000 from the SCV Education Foundation Wednesday.

“Now we don’t have to look for everything we need,” said physical education (PE) teacher Jane Turner who received equipment for Bridgeport Elementary School.  “It’s going to improve our time-on-task.”

Items donated to teachers included touchscreen Chromebooks, drone technology equipment, Lego Mindstorm EV3 Core sets, trombones, school garden start kits, Power Pen learning cards and pens, chromatic resonator bell sets, iPad mini tablets, level Accelerated Reader books and more.

The Teacher Innovation Grants nearly doubled their value from last year, when the SCV Education Foundation distributed items totaling $13,000 to 12 teachers.

Peggy Richard, left, explains the value of a school garden starter kit as Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation Executive Director Jackie Hartman presents plastic pots included in the kit from the SCV Education Foundation’s grant for the school’s science program during the Teacher Innovation Grant Distribution event held at the Santa Clarita Activities Centre in Santa Clarita on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“We had an excellent year in fundraising and we were able to put it back into what we do best, which is put it directly back in the classroom,” SCV Education Foundation Executive Director Jackie Hartmann said.  “To be able to give 18 grants instead of 12 is fulfilling our mission.”

A total of 38 teachers from in the William S. Hart Union High School District, Castaic Union School District, Newhall School District, Saugus Union School District and Sulphur Springs Union School District applied for this year’s Innovation Grants.

Castaic Middle School Physical Education teacher Bruce Brotz, right, demonstrates slidder-board PE equipment that was presented from the Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation as a grant for the school’s PE program during the Teacher Innovation Grant Distribution event held at the Santa Clarita Activities Centre in Santa Clarita on Wednesday. SCV Education Foundation President Jim Backer, left, and Executive Director Jackie Hartman look on. Dan Watson/The Signal

Since the SCV Education Foundation’s inception, the group has donated more than half a million in grants to teachers, according to Board President Jim Backer.

“We want to honor teachers who are finding new and better ways to teach kids,” Backer said.

This year’s recipients expressed both their honor and gratitude to have some of their needs met in the classroom.

“It will be exciting to have this technology in the classroom… to help transition first graders from touch screens to keyboards,” said Castaic Elementary School Teacher Dee Davis who received five touchscreen Chromebooks.

Mitchell Community School teacher Susan Friedman said her new Power Pen learning cards, books and pens will help her completed targeted intervention in the classroom to improve math fluency and reading comprehension.

Shinna Severina from Peachland Elementary School accepts three Lego Robot kits presented from the Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation as a grant for the school’s STEM afterschool program during the Teacher Innovation Grant Distribution event held at the Santa Clarita Activities Centre in Santa Clarita on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“They [the Power Pens] are engaging and interactive and give the kids positive and immediate feedback,” she said.

At Peachland Elementary School, Shinna Serverina will use three Lego Mindstorms Education EV3 educational sets and start an afterschool program for students who want to participate in the Lego League’s annual challenge in the fall.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for students to prepare for their future by solving real-life problems,” Serverina said.

James Foster Elementary School teacher Sandra Belanger said her new high-interest, low-level literature books will help her students develop a love of reading, while Sulphur Springs Elementary School teacher Beatriz Vargas said her six Chromebooks will help her students become critical thinkers, collaborators and innovators.

Altogether, members of the SCV Education Foundation are proud to help teachers in the community who positively impact students’ lives each and every day.

“It means everything,” Hartmann said.  “They are the direct link to the students; they have so much desire to help the students.”

ccox@signalscv.com
661-287-5575
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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Christina Cox
Christina Cox is a multimedia journalist covering education, community and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in August 2016.
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